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MELCHISEDEK - An Appraisalby W. Bro.G.C.Love, PJGD.
Victorian Lodge of Research No.218
United Grand Lodge of Victoria, Australia
To fully investigate this subject from, say a masonic viewpoint, is
simple compaired to placing "M" in a mystical, religious or historical
context. Hence my approach has not
been a strictly Judaeo-Christian approach, but hopefully, an unbiased academic
one. Perhaps the most illiogical of
all “M” statements, I found, came from H.W.Armstrong (1956) on the Radio
Church of God. "He (M.) was not
the Son of God, for He had not yet been BORN of the Virgin Mary...".
A few comments must be made with regard to the use of terms, because I
find myself continually seeing the subject matter from two widely differing
angles; firstly, that of human Priest-King, and secondly of a concept not human.
Is it possible that a problem which "haunts" a Christian mind
is that of an avatar, a Christified person; the Christ, Jesus; a Christ, Jesus
(an avatar); and Lord Jesus Christ? This
is important because it is only when an appreciation of this term is reached,
that some form of higher understanding of the What
called Melchizedek can be reached.
We do know Melchi-Zedak was first mentioned in Webb's Monitor in 1882,
with indications it was instituted in 1799 by Webb and others in General Grand
Chapter, USA, so states Harding.
Neil Whitford in his paper, "The Enigma of Melchizedek (1988)",
says; "Prior to his untimely death, Tom Muggeridge prepared a paper on this
topic, which has since, become either mislaid or lost.
This is a great pity, for I am sure that he would have treated the
subject with great insight". The
paper was not missing, it was in my library.
A copy, of which, has since been forwarded to the Knight Templer Priest
Grand Tabernacle. It can be said
that Muggeridge did state in his paper, no reference though, “…Contrary to
many cherished man-thought-out-ideas, Melchizedek and Christ are one and the
same….. It is the function of the High Priest to lead the way to salvation”.
This would be a Christians' statement as Gershom Scholem, in “Jewish
Mysticism”, 7th lecture, states, “…mystical meditations of the
Kabbalists on theogony and cosmogony thus produced a non-Messianic and
individualistic mode of redemption or salvation”.
Yet, I’m sure this subject only became a masonic subject when
Melchisedek was introduced into it via Christian masons.
My reason for saying this is that IT is actually a religious and
historical problem. Still, it is
part of masonic orders so we must address the subject.
An enigma. Heb:
malki-tsedhek, king of righteousness. Melk = “King”, with Tsedeq = Pillar. The pillar, ofcourse, plays a significant part in
freemasonry. For example, the three
Craft pillars; the three pillars in the Scottish Rite (Rose Croix) and the
"Pillar'd Priests" of the Knight Templar Priests, to name a few.
The biblical story talks of the King of Salem (identified as Jerusalem)
who blessed Abraham, in the name of “God the Most High, possessor of heaven
and earth” (Gen. 14:18-20), after he, Abraham, had returned from his pursuit
of five Mesopotamian kings (Chedorlaomer, the King of Elam) in the Vale of
Siddim (Shaveh). Having said such, it may be that MLKY SDQ in fact is not a
person but is a contracted form of mlwk (Arabic for ‘mouthful’), ie, lwk sdq
(mouthful of offering), refer “Melchizedek: Clues to a Pantheon”, Salibi,
1985. Yet A.Osman in “The House of the Messiah” (1992) agrees with the
traditional interpretation (Gen 14: 18-20), while Gaskell states, “A symbol of
the Higher self. A type of the Christ, who is the centre and pivot from which
all manifestation proceeds. His kingdom is the abode of the bliss (Salem) and
peace, upon the higher planes. He
is all Truth and Righteousness; second to none, - the first and the last - the
one emanation from the Absolute”.. and .. “A symbol of authority and power
over the lower nature, attained by the Self who has undertaken to go forth and
accomplish his evolution”. He
appears in Psalm 110:4; “Thou art a priest for ever after the order of
Melchizedek”. The ideal ruler of
the Hebrew nation would be one who combined in his person the role of both
priest and king. The question begs,
"Is this what a Pope sees of himself?"
The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews uses Melchizedek (Heb.5-7) in
his great argument where he shows forth Jesus as the final and perfect
revelation of G’d because in His person He is Son, and in His work He is
Priest (Heb. 1:2-10:18). The author
cites Psalm 110:4 indicating that Jesus’ priesthood is of a different order
from the Levitical (being that) “after the order of Melchizedek”.
Is their an inference here that the Levitcal Line cannot produce a
Christ, whereas the Melchizedek Line does?
Hence the reason for no Judaic Messiah?
In line with Salibi's thinking is the story told by an unusual
publication, the Urantia Book. It is a book composed of "divinely" written papers
that were "bestowed" upon a human contact person in the early 1930s
for publication. This book defines
melchizadeck as a generic term to describe a type of being.
So explains Mark Roebuck.
Yet, Michael Gates notes that, "there is a Gnostic Christian text
called 'Melchizedek' included in a The Nag
Hammadi Library". Pearson
comments on this further, ".. In this tractate, Melchizedek's appearance in
the endtime is tied to the career of Jesus Christ. .... In other words, Jesus IS
Melchizedek! .... an interpretation of Hebrews 7:3. .... Melchizedek as the 'Son
of God' (=Jesus Christ) gained currency in some early Christian circles,
particularly in Egypt". Is
this the hidden "key" within the Egyptian Metu
Neter (some wrongly know it as the Book of the Dead)?
But, for a twist to the story we need only turn to Gardner when he says,
“…Fragments of the Prince Melchisedek Document found among the Dead Sea
Scrolls indicate that Melchisedek (author suggests Melchi-Zadok) and (Archangel)
Michael were one and the same. This
Zadok aspect is also referred to by Eisenman in his book “James the Brother of
Jesus” at page 308.
Man and his Life:
In the slavonic apocalypse of 2 Enoch he is mentioned as having been born and
ascended just prior to the Flood. If
this, from a Old Testament Pseudepigraphic viewpoint, is true, then Melchizedek
was “born” before The Flood (c.4000 BCE - this date tends to be the usually
accepted geological date). The
miraculous conception of him without human father from his mother, Sothonim’s,
lifeless body. His legitimacy of priest in heaven places him (according some
Biblical Scholars) in the forefront to Jesus.
That is, Jesus being of the Melchizedekian Line (opposite to Levitical),
remembering that Melchisedek was the first to offer “bread and wine as a type
of Christ (meaning an annointed)”.
Biblical references are; Genesis 14:18-24; Psalms 110:4; Hebrews 3:1, 5:1-10,
7:1-22, 21: John 3:5, 6:35,48,58 and 11 QMelch.
A summary offering from Mackey will probably cover many of the volumes
that have been written, quoted and discussed on this aspect. Mackey states, "Melchisedek, King of Salem, and a priest
of the Most High God, of whom all that we know is to be found in the passages of
Scripture read at the conferring of the degree of High Priesthood.
Some theologians have supposed him to have been Shem, the son of Noah.
The sacrifice of offering bread and wine is first attributed to
Melchisedek; and hence, looking to the similar Mithraic sacrifice, Higgins is
inclined to believe that he professed the religion of Mithras.
He abandoned the sacrifice of slaughtered animals, and to quote the words
of (St.) Jerome, 'Offered bread and wine as a type of Christ'.
Hence, in the New Testament, (Jesus) Christ is represented as a priest
after the order of Melchisedek".
I’ve referred to Mackey because Coil (even in the 1996 revised edition) still
has almost nothing to say on the
Having tried to summarise this aspect, I now find it necessary to include
a quote from the Gnostic writings of Nag Hammadi.
These statements (a) Comment, and b) Quote are from 'Melchizedek IX 1,
Comment - In this tractate the role of Melchizedek as an eschatological
high priest and Messianic warrior reflects Jewish speculations on Melchizedek
current at the turn of the Common Era. Melchizedek tractates contain revelations given to Melchizedek by
heavenly messengers. The first
revelation (M.IX 1, 1-14,15) prophesies concerning the life, suffering, death,
and victory of Jesus Christ (Yeshuah), and the future high-priestly role to be
played by Melchizedek himself. From
this last statement, one is caused to ask, if M. was beside Abram, yet here at
Yeshuah's time then either there are more than one M., else, M. is a concept to
Quote - (these will seem cryptic yet telling) "..[They] will come in
his name, 'and they will say of him that he is' unbegotten though he has been
begotten, (that) he does not 'eat even though he eats (that) he does not drink
even though he drinks, (that) he is uncircumcised' though he has been
circumcised, (that) he is unfleshly 'though he has come in flesh, (that) he did
not 'come to suffering <though> he came to suffering, '(that) he did not
rise from the dead <though> he arose from [the]' dead.
Refer NH-M(IX):5:1-20. Just
as the One who truly exists '[of those who] exist [received the] greatness
'[...'do(es)] not [exist], Abel, Baruch [...to] you (sing.) the knowledge [...]
'that he is [from 'the] race of the High Priest'..
'I] arose, [I, Melchizedek], 'and I began to [...]' God [...]' that I should
[rejoice ...] while he [is acting...]' living [..I said], I [... and I] will not
cease, from [now on' for ever], O Father of the [All,' because] you have had
pity on me, and [you have sent the] angel of light' [....] from your [aeons' ...
to] reveal [....]' when he came [.... he raised] me up from ignorance' and
[from] the fruitfulness' of death to life. I' have it as a name. 'I, Melchizedek, the Priest of [God] Most High.
I '[know] that I am truly, '[verily], the true High Priest '[of] God Most
High, and '[...] the world. Refer
NH-M(IX):14:16-26 and 15:1-15.
Meanwhile, in comparison, the Qumran (Dead Sea) Scrolls had this say
concerning the mysterious figure M. Once
again it is not practical nor correct to quote the entire text, only a short
exerpt must suffice. For
the text refer A.S.van de Woude, “Melchizedek als himmlische
Erlosergestalt”, Leiden, 1965. The
following quotes being from within Vermes writings.
“(11Q Melch)..The heavenly deliverer is Melchizedek. Identical with the
archangel Michael, he is the head of the ‘sons of Heaven’ or ‘gods of
Justice’ Here Melchizedek is portrayed as presiding over the final
judgement and condemnation of his demonic counterpart, Belial.”
And Isa.lxi.1, an interpretation, “..And the Day of Atonement is the
end of the tenth Jubilee, when all the Sons of Light and the men of the lot of
Melchizedek will be atoned for…” Also
mentioning this “judgement” is Psalms vii,7-8; lxxxii,1-2.
This though must be explained by a further quote; “..And your Elohim is
Melchizedek, who will save them from the hand of the Melkiresha [Prince of
Let us remember that the Prince of Darkness (Melkiresha) often referred
to, outside of these writings, as “Satan” (lit. he who hinders) was no demon
or evil spirit being a member of the Divine household like other angelic beings.
Just when the dust has settled so-to-speak, Graves (in the "White
Goddess", pgs 161 & 162) espouses; "...the Sacred King of Salem
who welcomed 'Abraham' to Canaan ('Abraham' being in this sense the
far-travelled tribe that came down into Palestine from Armenia at the close of
the third millenium B.C.) 'had neither father nor mother'.
(that) Schofield in his Historical
Background to the Bible notes that to this day (1981 at least) the people of
Hebron have not forgiven David for moving his capital to Jerusalem ('Holy
Salem') which they refer to as 'The New Jerusalem' as though Hebron were the
authentic one. There is a record in the Talmud of a heretical sect of Jews,
called Melchizedekians, who frequented Hebron to worship the body ... of Adam
....." " .. Melchizedek's lack of a father is
intelligble, but why should he have no mother? .... It is the transitional stage
from matriarchy to patriarchy."
and Jesus. Hunt in his Masonic (Bible) Concordance has this to say
(concerning M.), “Perfection is not to be in the Levitical priesthood for
those priests were made without an oath, but Christ was made with an oath by him
that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest
forever after the Order of Melchisedec; by so much was Jesus made a surety of a
better testament”. Eisenman
(James the Brother of Jesus) also makes reference to this Perfection aspect,
although he states “…. repeated claims
about his Perfection”.
still was this as received via the Net with no source attached.
Melchisedek and Jesus Christ both share some interesting parallel facts
in their lives. Both were Kings and
High priests of the Most High Lord God. They
both seem to have regarded Bread and Water as a symbolic means with which to
restore the soul. Neither his nor
Jesus' name were inscribed on the books of the Priesthood of Aaron, nor were
they from a Levite family, the hereditory "caste" from which the
Jewish priesthood (of the time) from. Melchisedek
was Black, born, raised and lived among the descendents of Ham.
Jesus Christ was of the family of David, with Black ancestors like Boaz
shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hand unto
God". Psalms 68:31
Most of us will hear of this "person" only in other masonic
Orders, such as Knights Templar, Knight Templar Priests (KTP), Allied Masonic
Degrees (AMD) and Scottish Rite, as Melchisedek had no part in the ritual or
legends of Craft Masonry. Cryer, in
his "Speculations", presents a brief history when he says,
"Orders of the "Priesthood of Melchizedek" were known in Central
Europe around 1770-1780. By the
time the same kind of degree re-emerges in the USA in the early years of the
19th century, it had become the "Sublime Order of High Priesthood".
From there it came to Ireland, and thence to Lancashire and northern
England", and "..What is clear, however, is that while the (KTP)
remained strictly Christian, the (AMD) Order of the Grand High Priest had become
universal in spirit".
Before we proceed, I feel I must comment on masonic writers, with regard
to our subject. It would seem that
much of the masonic writings on Melkisedek appear to embody just the devout
Christian, yet I'm sure innocent, implications.
Very little, if any, is to be found on the real potential background to
the term 'Melchisedek'. This would
seem strange when in this enlightened age writers are 'tearing at' the very
fabric of what was the sacred name "Jesus".
For the Royal Arch Mason, what has been lost in that Order (the High
Priest Breastplate) is retained in the Allied Masonic Degree of "Grand High
Priest". The headgear and
breastplate were a regular part of pre-1856 Royal Arch Masonry.
Those shown at Annex ‘A’ are a formal version of the type worn by the
Principals of the Chapter of Melchisedek from 1801-1860.
In regard to the Arch and Knights Templar degrees (in Ireland during the
1800s) Jones (1965) states, “…. a degree known as the Sacred Band Royal Arch
Knights Templars, Priests after the
Order of Melchisedec….” their certificates contained the following, “…
Wisdom built her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars; the light that
cometh from wisdom shall never go out.”
Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests:
(KTP) - “The Pillar’d Priests”
The KTP (as the Order is commonly referred to) could be called “Order
of Melchisedek”, but also White Mason, Order of Holy Wisdom, (Holy) Order of
High-Priesthood, etc. Even a
Gnostic Melchisedekian Order, but that is another story. Refer Appendix ‘B’ for a complete list of the degrees
within the KTP. The ceremonies
within the Order (KTP) are full of symbolism, eg, Pillars teaching; Colours,
plus Knocks, Proficiency, further Light, Scripture reading, breaking of Seal,
opening of Door, Promise given Lamp to light, permission to Enter, seven
Promises, and A.R. to the final Veil. The
“masonic date” accorded this Order is known as Anno Benedictiois. In the
Year of the Blessing. Add 1913 to
the Calendar Year. Refer “Holy
Order of High Priesthood” B.C. & Yukon, Canada.
In the gnostic "Book of the Great Logos" mention is made of; a)
Melchisedek and the Seven Voices, and the Seven Virgins, and b) Jesus and the
Seven Voices, and the Seven Virgins of Light.
Yet interesting though, Jonas in "The Gnostic Religion" makes
no reference to Melchisedeq. I
believe this is because his pursuit is the Mandean, Mani, Hermes and Greek
Gnostic lines of thought.
The KTP traditional history is two fold:
It appears to have its foundations in Ireland where records exist of
workings dating back to the late 18th century.
From the writings it is suggested Knight Templars from various Craft
lodges joined together as a "Union Band" to confer the degree.
There being no governing body to exercise control hence the chequered
career of the degree.
In 1895 a Tabernacle (The Royal Kent) was created at Newcastle-upon-Tyne
(England). For a while the Order
operated under the jurisdiction of the Grand Council of the Allied Masonic
Degrees. Finally, in 1923 the
present Grand College was formed at Newcastle (England). Refer Jackson "Beyond The Craft", 4th edition,
High Priest: Hebrews 7:14,17,20,21. This
is the culmination of the journey of the candidate and the readings which
accompany it. Snippert's from the
New Bible Commentary should suffice to cover this aspect.
"... The epistle's writer has already asserted that Jesus can be, to
all who obey Him, the source of eternal salvation because He has become on their
behalf 'a high priest after the order of Melchizedek' (refer Heb. 5:6,9,10).
The OT Scriptures themselves both provide and authorise .... the
priesthood of Melchizedek, after whose order the Messiah is by divine oath
declared to be a priest forever (Gen. 14:17-20; Ps. 110:4).
This new order of priesthood implies and involves difference from,
superiority over, and the supersession of, the old Levitical order".
Masonic Degrees (AMD)
of Grand High Priest (London 1928)" or “Holy Order of Grand High
Priest (London 1977)”
To summarise this area, ie., Ritual No.3, reference is made to, and
quoted from Cryer's "Speculations".
'..... Herein is a principle of "sacred priesthood" which has
hovered around Freemasonry as long as the concept of knighthood. ..... It was no
surprise when the "Antients Grand Lodge" from 1751 adopted the motto,
"Kadosh Lo Adonai" (Holiness to the Lord) which was inscribed on the
Mitre of the Jewish High Priest at Jerusalem. .....
The regalia/jewel is a mitre on a triangle, both in gold suspended by a
red ribbon. Annex ‘B’ contains
a list of the degrees within the Allied Masonic Degrees (AMD).
It must be noted that the Ritual No.3 of 1977 contains an excellent
“History” of this Degree, including a lengthy explanation of where it
believes Melchizedek fits in. This
ceremonial is itself possibly an amalgam of two distinct degrees; a) the
blessing of Abram by Melchisedek, and four centuries later, b) the consecration
of Aaron the Levite as the first Jewish High Priest.
Refer Annex ‘C’ for a suggested lineage chart relating to the
Merkabah: Chariot; by extension the mystical tradition that draws its
inspiration from Ezekial. Surely
here is an eschatological view of the four banners in the HRA.
Refer Jellinek’s “Beth-Hamidrash”, Leipzig, 1853-78.
Metatron: Elijah passes the comment; "... He is known as Metatron,
the Divine High Priest of Heaven and Adam Kadmon (aka Atik Yoman).
As far as being the Christian messiah, it is understandable that he and
the messiah may be confused since the spirit of the messiah traditionally issues
forth from Metatron (Guide or Measurer of the Heavens).
However, a number of parallels do appear to exist between the Qumran
(11Qmelch) heavenly Melchizedek and the Metatron of 3 Enoch.
They are both figures being held exalted; both are heavenly judges; and
both had earthly lives prior to exaltation.
For Metatron refer 3En 16:1.
If it is that Melchisedek was an avatar of Christ, then one only needs to
relate to the sayings of Bhagavad to Arjuna, “..as often as virtue declines in
the world, I make myself manifest to save it” and ..”He who follows me is
saved by wisdom and even by works..”. Cabot
in his "Inside The Cults", states, "..after the Aaronic
Priesthood is the Melchizedek Priesthood ..... in the priestly hierarchy of the
Mormon Church". Whitford in
his “The Enigma of Melchisedek” states, “The Jews dismiss M. as a
personality of very minor importance”. Surely this would be obvious if it is
understood M. was not of the Levitical line (of Moses) which prevailed after the
Captivity. Yet it can be equally
said that M. is only a concept. We
still do not have final proof - One way, or the other?
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